new cash advance lenders uk longest 0 interest credit card bank of ireland visa credit card services credit card authorization form template free cash advance loans no credit check georgia credit card terminal rental toronto lowest credit card rates australia how does a credit/debit card work online prepaid gift credit cards with no fees hdfc credit card apply visa credit card number format wiki how long does it take to get credit card from chase cibc aeroplan miles credit card mbna cash back credit card canada visa credit card return protection best instant decision credit cards how to get a credit card merchant account free visa credit card number and cvv visa canada credit card exchange rate test credit card numbers best cashback credit cards 2013 canada how to redeem sbi credit card reward points online credit card travel miles blog loans with bad credit no guarantor marriott rewards credit card with no annual fee apply for credit card bad credit rating barclays credit card application india best international prepaid credit cards black visa card requirements instant decision business credit cards everyday rewards credit card balance sbi corporate credit card chase credit card settlement department are there any guaranteed credit cards best no fee reward credit cards canada halifax student credit card review ikea usa credit card application toyota visa rewards card login amazon credit card score requirements credit card offers for someone with no credit current best credit card rates jp morgan chase business credit card us bank credit card login commonwealth bank gold card travel insurance venture capital one credit card no annual fee best student credit cards 2013 sbi credit card eligibility chennai how to choose a credit card canada bad credit loan calculator interest charge on cash advances us bank wireless credit card machine reviews discover credit card score requirements aqua credit card lost hsbc premier credit card india black visa card australia cash advance fee halifax credit card payday advance loans south africa what is the best credit card for college students best credit card for bad credit car hire credit card insurance uk personal bad credit loan best 2 cash back credit card top 5 best secured credit cards cash advance fee credit card speedy cash loans uk average credit limit for capital one platinum card credit card balance transfer offers fixed rate citibank credit card application status singapore best new credit card offers capital one credit card balance transfer offers minimum credit score for sears card idbi credit card apply online first premier secured credit card belk credit card application status best free reward credit cards canada what;s the best credit card to get in canada what is the best credit card to use for gas halifax cash back credit card conditions best gas credit card deals 0 credit card transfer balance best place to get online loan tesco credit card payment methods best credit cards for travel rewards canada how much does a prepaid credit card cost at walmart free online debit visa card prepaid vanilla visa card where can i use my old navy visa credit card easy store credit cards to get approved td first class travel visa infinite card benefits is an amazon credit card a good idea reputable credit card debt relief companies when do credit card companies report late payments to credit bureaus college student credit cards with low interest rates first premier credit card reviews 2012 can a credit card company sue you does bank of america offer virtual credit card numbers lord and taylor credit card contact information citi business credit cards online bank of america credit card payment calculator goodyear credit card sign in bad credit loan lenders credit card ratings money magazine apply for ikea credit card uk citibank credit cards australia manual credit card machine canada american airlines credit card offer 2011 real credit card numbers and security codes that work online hdfc credit card online payment by other bank debit card dillards credit card review bmo low interest credit card how to apply for a credit card in axis bank secured discover credit card balance transfer fee credit card top 5 credit card companies us pay us bank credit card best student credit cards for bad credit credit cards with no annual fee bad credit apply online credit card hsbc bank commonwealth bank low rate credit card review how to get a credit card from sbi hsbc credit card application online citibank cash back credit card offers citibank corporate credit card online payment hsbc credit card cash advance limit black cardamom curry sbi credit card agents total merchant services credit card processing reviews citi corporate credit card customer care free credit card numbers and security code 2013 compare balance transfer credit cards singapore ann taylor loft credit card online payment how to get credit card in hdfc bank best buy application for credit card personal bad credit loans canada free credit card icons best visa rewards card 2013 best visa credit card for college student td visa debit card activation us credit card number security code generator generate valid credit card number mailing address for us bank credit cards top credit card apps for ipad how can i get a credit card with bad credit history how does a credit card work yahoo credit card company liable icici instant credit card statement is there an app for walmart credit card techron chevron credit card company credit card personal use online payday loans cash advance payday max hsbc black credit card uk capitec online loan application how to pay standard chartered credit card bill from hdfc bank best credit card company for building credit hsbc credit cards apply online in india credit card balance transfer no fee no interest national cash advance anz platinum credit card travel insurance australia capital one credit card for students with no credit sbi credit card reward points redemption catalogue credit card bank islam online lowest merchant credit card fees can you get a credit card with bad credit in canada credit card apr money magazine best rewards credit cards 2012 random visa card number credit card interest rate chart credit card processing companies uk how to get a bad credit mortgage pounds till payday advance loans gnc gold card renewal standard chartered online credit card payment pakistan credit card search for bad credit unsecured credit cards for very bad credit credit card fraud concerns at schnucks stores use credit card to build credit rating credit card verification formula quick short term loans online anz platinum credit card review best mobile credit card processing small business can you use a balance transfer credit card to pay off an overdraft major credit card companies in india credit cards with rewards bad credit credit card settlement process flow walmart mastercard gift card opening and closing credit cards bad for credit best prepaid credit cards australia quick payday loans bad credit credit card payment gateway singapore best iphone credit card machine canadian reloadable credit cards wells fargo credit card payment help online cash loans today best credit card travel rewards program natwest business credit card rewards credit card after bankruptcy discharge australia is capital one an easy credit card to get aadvantage credit card signup bonus us airways mastercard buy prepaid credit card paypal canada android credit card app uk visa credit easiest gas credit card to get with bad credit paying off credit card debt python instant approval online payday loans no credit checks how do interest free purchase credit cards work walmart credit card account payday loans online instant approval post office credit card customer login consumer reports best credit card rewards cimb credit card application form singapore mophie marketplace credit card reader for intuit gopayment for apple iphone 4 credit card credit limit decrease cash advance loans direct lender no teletrack mastercard college student credit cards best buy credit card application report code 25 store credit cards after bankruptcy mophie marketplace complete credit card reader for intuit gopayment for iphone 4what is a good credit card to help build credit black cardboard boxes wholesale 0 percent balance transfer business credit cards credit card number font free nab credit card insurance contact credit card approval online instant credit card cibc lost consolidate auto loans and credit cards square up credit card logos first cash advance hours short term bad credit loan uk interest free balance transfer credit card no fee td canada trust cash back credit card create virtual visa card online bad credit bank accounts lloyds capital one credit card app status test credit card numbers wikipedia store credit cards for bad credit canada instant cash payday loans online credit card instant approval no annual fee credit cards instant approval no deposit hsbc premier credit card insurance uk 500 fast cash loans how to get a cash advance on your credit card without a pin obama credit card debt relief 2010 online credit card prepaid best prepaid credit card credit card number visa generator i need a credit card fast and i have bad credit how do you apply for an apple credit card credit card business cards designs credit card settlement process chase increase credit limit automatically how to hack a credit card number visa 2011 how does a wells fargo student credit card work blackberry credit card app uk value city credit card account standard chartered bank credit card 5 cash back compare credit cards cash back rewards vb credit card number validation credit score needed for walmart discover credit card does chase bank offer prepaid credit cards citi credit cards canada barclays credit card 0 interest citibank uk credit card application credit card for bad credit instant approval uk household credit card login page car loan with bad credit philippines high limit credit cards average credit line of credit loans for bad credit dbs credit card rewards singapore what credit card is best for me philippines orchard credit card payments online credit card offers best reward points faxless no credit check payday loans online best platinum credit card uk planet fitness black card cancellation fee paypal credit card payments uk free credit card no credit check best credit card consolidation 2012 payday loans no fees no phone calls capital one credit card review canada best secured credit card no credit check virgin prepaid credit card south africa home depot credit card services contact hdfc credit card toll free number punjab cash loans to your door for unemployed do any credit cards offer free travel insurance best rewards visa credit card canada is there a southwest credit card with no annual fee quickbooks credit card processing login 6 month payday loans lenders sample visa card number lane bryant credit card payment phone number can i pay my lane bryant credit card online how do cash advances work on credit cards the bay hbc credit card online need a loan with bad credit now cash back no fee credit card icici credit card online payment through neft rbc cash back visa interest valero comcreditcard login how to open a door lock with a credit card billdesk hdfc credit cards payment swipe credit card terminal canada hdfc bank credit card numbers business card credit analyst salary sears canada credit card services zero percent credit cards for 24 months capital one apply for credit card credit card with no annual fee philippines 2013 walmart credit card cash advance limit us credit card issuers list standard chartered credit card customer care number bangalore credit card authorization form recurring mastercard business credit cards rewards does a secured credit card help build your credit bad credit credit cards no deposit required how to catch online credit card fraud capital one secured credit card for business psn credit card numbers for sale types of credit cards visa mastercard discover how to make a hdfc credit card payment online tesco credit card login app orange prepaid credit card paypal instant payday loans bad credit barclays capital credit card login paypal credit card login uk paypal credit card scanners tesco clubcard credit card minimum payment master credit card india city bank credit card payment statement best no annual fee credit card 2013 best credit card to use on holiday in usa visa card security code number uk credit card number suze orman best secured credit card uob credit card rewards indonesia prepaid reloadable credit cards australia toys r us credit card customer service phone number virgin credit card uk online prepaid visa credit card canada how to pay hdfc master credit card bill bad credit payday loans direct citibank indian oil credit card online application best credit card rewards 2012 uk shell gas credit cards for bad credit best travel credit card usa online cash loans no credit check hdfc credit card charges lane bryant credit card customer service number delta credit card canada 0 transfer credit cards australia credit cards with low interest for students free credit card scanner for android secured credit cards no credit check purple discovery credit card citibank secured credit card with rewards secured bad credit cards analysis on credit card fraud detection methods how long for best buy credit card approval best credit card reward scheme credit card fees for merchants comparison canada best credit card points wells fargo credit card minimum payment percentage gas credit card reviews i need a credit card to build my credit american express reward credit cards visa credit card application online city finance cash loans liverpool virgin prepaid visa credit card online payday loan scams review chase credit card minimum payment 2011 axis bank easy credit card apply real loan sharks online fast online payday loans uk sbi bank corporate credit card aqua credit card online excel formula to calculate monthly credit card interest how to pay icici credit card bill online through icici city bank credit card bill payment from other bank hsbc gold credit card interest rate compare chase united credit cards virgin credit card uk login uk credit card numbers explained pnc credit card services login i have bad credit and need a credit card australia canada best credit card balance transfer want to apply for credit cards in india 6019 - brandsmart usa credit card best indian credit cards for international travel top gas rewards credit card which credit card is best in india yahoo answers sears mastercard credit card review can i apply for business credit card without a business unsecured credit cards for poor credit with no deposit barclays credit card contact telephone number pay paypal credit card high limit easy to get credit cards iphone credit card processing for mobile payments citibank credit limit increase sbi credit card login id going over credit limit capital one mastercard careers middle east easy credit card application online amscot cash advance tampa fl can i pay with 2 credit cards on walmart com square iphone credit card processing canada disputing credit card charges chase hbc credit card application online how to fake a credit card number validation bank of ireland credit card payment plan citi college student credit cards credit card fraud detection project download payday lenders uk 2012 pnc national city credit card random credit card number generator with security code online instant virtual credit card online best business credit cards 2012 shell gas credit card pay as you go credit cards usa hdfc credit card toll free number 5 best credit cards for travel visa card canada tesco clubcard credit card air miles long term personal loans online credit card for new immigrants uk sbi credit card billdesk payment credit card payment offer letter qatar airways credit card verification what credit cards are issued by mbna bank of america credit card hdfc credit card 5 cash back clark howard best credit cards for college students major credit cards for average credit chase credit card usa nab low rate credit card interest rate citibank virtual credit card ipad us bank credit card login rei icici bank online apply credit cards belk credit card requirements online sbi credit card login instant credit card approval in canada gap visa card customer service costco credit card processing rates disney credit card review 2013 hdfc credit cards online apply sbi visa credit card verification balance transfer credit card no fee discover credit card student td us visa cards how do i sign up for a visa credit card paying chase credit cards online best travel rewards cards 2013 random credit card number for itunes amazon uk credit card login cibc student credit card application same day cash advance loans online barclays credit card lost us visa cards canada comparison ameriloan? online cash advance payday loans - no fax lenscrafters ge credit card payment phone number for bank of america business credit card best credit card interest rates australia what;s a verification code on a credit card belk credit card services phone number goodyear credit card rebate 12 months interest free credit card tesco chase credit cards no credit history prepaid credit card uk free personal long term loans with bad credit annual credit report walmart credit card login canada 0 credit cards on purchases and balance transfers credit card transfer offers mosaik bmo mastercard online sign in usaa credit card online login best credit card to get to build credit blank credit card authorization form doc best us credit card no foreign transaction fee hdfc credit card online payment through netbanking how to get a visa card with bad credit in canada uk passport credit card authorisation form credit card interest rates uk scotia bank secured credit cards canada spg credit card bonus offer reloadable prepaid visa cards ocbc credit card promotions singapore chase credit card international transaction fees best credit cards uk martin lewis credit card online payment of hdfc barclaycard credit card deals for existing customers compare business credit cards uk real credit card numbers that work 2013 with security code hsbc debit visa card best no credit check payday loans one hour cash advance lenders online poor credit credit cards uk credit card prime rate definition visa business credit card limit unsecured credit cards after bankruptcy discharge canada loans for single mothers with bad credit and no bank account short term cash loans
Home All Articles Six Views on Former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 1158 guests online

Atom RSS

Six Views on Former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
Articles & Opinion
Written by Various Authors   
Thursday, 22 March 2007 07:28

Biz of Baseball ExclusiveLast Thursday, former commissioner Bowie Kuhn died at the age of 80 due to complications from pneumonia. Statements from both Commissioner Selig and Executive Director Fehr were released shortly thereafter remarking about Kuhn as a man and as former commissioner.

Kuhn ad The following day, the likes of Hal Bodley of USA Today, and Richard Goldstein of the NY Times talked of what Kuhn meant historically. MLB ran a full page ad in USA Today in his honor (see the image to the right, and click to see it in higher resolution)

Today, a selection of six notables that either knew Kuhn directly, or have studied him and his tenure will weigh in on his legacy. The list includes (in alphabetical order):

  • Buzzie Bavasi – Bavasi, who has been, and continues to be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the Veterans Committee, was a key player in the front offices of the Dodgers, Padres, and Angels. Bavasi’s tenure overlapped with Kuhn’s.
  • Maury Brown – Founder of, Maury Brown’s Biz of Sports, and an author for Baseball Prospectus. Brown is the former co-chair of SABR’s Business of Baseball committee.
  • Tim Lemke – Lemke is currently the sports business reporter for the Washington Times.
  • Roger Noll – Noll is Professor Emeritus of Economics, at Stanford University and has written extensively on baseball economics.
  • Tal Smith – Smith is the president of player development for the Houston Astros, and was at Kuhn’s funeral on Tuesday (read the Biz of Baseball interview with Smith).
  • Andrew Zimbalist – Zimbalist serves as the Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College, and has written several books on sports economics, including the recently released, In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig, which touches on Kuhn’s tenure. (read the Biz of Baseball interviews with Zimbalist from 2006 and 2004).

In compiling these thoughts on Kuhn, an interesting trend emerged: those that knew well of him personally had high praise for the former commissioner. Those that viewed him from an academic standpoint or knew of him only in passing, had views that were somewhat less flattering regarding his place in history.

Below are six views of former commissioner Bowie Kuhn. (select Read More for details)

Buzzie Bavasi - I put Bowie right behind Ford Frick and to me Ford was the best.

The day he was dismissed as commissioner, Bowie and Luisa (Kuhn’s wife) asked Evit, my wife, and myself out to dinner. Not once during that two hour period did Bowie say anything critical of the folks that dismissed him. However, I had plenty to say.

At the meeting (to dismiss Kuhn before the dinner), Ted Turner, went into a tirade about Bowie’s 15 years as commissioner. I interrupted and read a clipping that was in the N.Y. Daily news the week before. It read, "This is such a good TV package that I have changed my mind and am voting for Bowie". I asked who was being quoted. No one acknowledged the quote. I finally said to Ted, “This is your quote, Ted." "Yeah,” said Turner. “But I hadn't read the contract when I made that statement." Think that tells you everything.

Maury Brown – I was fortunate enough to interview Kuhn in 2005, and could count on one hand the number of phone calls I had with him. Sadly, I was left with a sense that he was not the warmest man, and my view of him historically is one of seeing a man at a particular place in history, rather than a man who proactively made history. Maybe that is due to my limited access to the man personally. Maybe my distance allows me to be unfettered by personal experience. Be that as it may, here are my views on the man’s tenure.

Much has been made of how player salaries escalated during his tenure. The AP in reporting his death mentioned that when his tenure started in February of 1969, the average salary was $19,000 and by the end of his tenure, the average salary was nearly $330,000. This was more the doing of Marvin Miller than anything as Kuhn fought through multiple legal channels to overturn the reserve clause, which allowed for the rapid escalation in salary growth. Yet, his actions actually worked in the players favor. As Miller said in his autobiography, “His inability to distinguish between reality and his prejudices, his lack of concern for the rights of players, sections of the press, and even the stray unpopular owner—all combined to make Kuhn a vital ingredient in the growth and strength of the union. To paraphrase Voltaire on God, if Bowie Kuhn had never existed, we would have had to invent him.”

Miller’s accounting of Kuhn seems to encapsulate my views on him: a man that was at some of the most important moments in baseball history, who was not the visionary of those moments, but rather a man that seemed to simply react to them, thereby creating history.

When I asked him if he had any regrets in life, his response seems to further this view of mine. “On Jim Bouton’s book, Ball Four, I expressed some reservations about his story in the clubhouse matters—which in baseball were considered sacrosanct—and I did nothing but sell the book,” Kuhn said. “I wouldn't do that again.”

In Kuhn’s defense, he viewed himself as an overseer of the great game of baseball, without the understanding that he was simply an employer of the owners—the CEO model with which Selig seems to embrace. There is little doubt in my mind that Kuhn cared deeply about baseball and acted in what he viewed in his mind was in its best interest. It seems the times changed around Kuhn, and he—and many of the owners of the day—simply did not grasp the fundamental shift that occurred when Miller and the Player’s Association made their ascension.

And in that, maybe I’m being too harsh on Kuhn. After all, he was a product of the owners and acting mostly on their behalf.

Kuhn’s undoing is that he not only fought back the players, but also fought with the owners. Certainly Finley despised him when he overturned the trades of Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Red Sox, along with Vida Blue to the Yankees—Finley’s infamous fire sale. And it wasn’t just Finley; Steinbrenner, and Ted Turner were others he alienated.

So, it was a sad day when Kuhn passed. But, it should be sad, for the reasons that the passing of any one person when they leave this mortal coil. For his family. For his friends. History, on the other hand, may view Kuhn as less of an imposing figure, than he was physically in life.

Tim Lemke - No baseball commissioner will ever be beloved by everyone. All of the game's top executives have left a bag of mixed reactions, and Bowie Kuhn is no exception. But there is really only one question you need to answer when evaluating a commissioner's career: was baseball in better shape at the end of his tenure than at the beginning of it? In Kuhn's case, it's clear that the answer is yes.

Kuhn oversaw one of the biggest explosions in the game's popularity, as attendance nearly doubled during his 16 years at the helm. Without Kuhn, prime-time baseball would have come along much later and the television contracts enjoyed by the league would be smaller in scale. Yes, the strike in 1981 was messy, but history will show that the stoppage of 1994 was considerably more damaging to baseball.

I never knew Kuhn, and was just a boy when he left the game. But I did have the pleasure of speaking to him last year when he openly campaigned--successfully--for baseball to select his former classmate Ted Lerner to be the new owner of the Nationals.

My favorite anecdote relates to his creation of a "lifetime baseball pass" for all 52 of the Iran hostages after they were brought home in 1981. Given the current world climate, that seems like an idea worth renewing. In fact, it's a pretty darn good idea no matter what the situation. Let's call it the Bowie Kuhn Pass, and hand out a few thousand of them with our thanks.

Roger Noll - Bowie Kuhn was a better Commissioner than most, which I admit is rather like declaring the nicest day in January in Duluth.

Baseball Commissioner is a tough job.  Superficially, the Commissioner has great power, but because the owners employ the Commissioner at will, no one can long survive in office without running the game in the interests of most owners as they perceive it at the time. And their perception of their own interest is not always accurate.  Just ask Fay Vincent.

Bowie Kuhn did many things that most regard as prudish or wrong-headed.  But he was an effective advocate and facilitator of the world view of owners in the 1960s and 1970s.  And sometimes he surprised people.

His most courageous act was ending the lock-out after the McNally-Messersmith decision threatened to make all players free agents within a year.  Whereas no one believed more deeply in the (incorrect) proposition that free-agency could destroy baseball, Kuhn also stood up to a majority of owners who were willing to shut down the sport if the players would not agree to give back what they had won in the arbitration process.  By ending the lock-out, Kuhn did more than save the start of the 1976 season, he also changed the terms of the debate between labor and management, and thereby ushered in the modern era of free agency.  Marvin Miller was the architect, but Kuhn cleared the site.

We do not know precisely why Kuhn lost his job, but the leading candidates were issues of principle: drugs and collusion.

Kuhn vigorously tried to cleanse baseball of hard drugs, which did not go down well with some owners when a valuable player was suspended.  While his policies and actions may have been excessively harsh, at least they were clear and fairly implemented, unlike baseball's current policies and practices regarding performance-enhancing drugs. Second, while he had as much distaste for high player salaries as any owner, he also favored playing by the rules.  His successor happily facilitated collusion over player salaries.  This lapse of judgment cost baseball dearly:  hundreds of millions in damages, plus poisoning the collective bargaining relationship that led to the debacle of 1994.

So farewell, Bowie.  You did a pretty fair job, given the times and the people that you worked for.

Tal Smith - I thought Bowie was a fine man and a good commissioner.

The landscape was far different during his administration.  They were trying times.  The union was flexing its muscles which resulted in a great deal of labor strife.  And Bowie's constituency - the clubs and their owners - was difficult and, in some case cases, irascible.

Bowie loved baseball and was well steeped in its history.  He governed so as to do everything in his power to preserve and protect the game's integrity and to foster its growth.  He served it well with class and dignity.

Andrew Zimbalist - One never wants to be disrespectful at such times, so it is uncomfortable when the imperative  for truth is so strong. As I said to Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe on the matter, I think Bowie established a pattern of antagonism and acrimony and distrust between the owners and players in the 1970s that took baseball 25-plus years to work through.



Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?